Harvard study reveals good relationships are key to happiness and health

June 6, 2017 5:43 pm Last Updated: June 6, 2017 5:43 pm

We all want to be happy, but what does research say about how to become happy? Well, a Harvard study that took more than 75 years has come to one surprising revelation: good relationships keep us happier and healthier.

The Study of Adult Development at the Harvard Medical School, better known as the Grant Study, is considered the longest-running study of human happiness. It was started in 1938 with 268 healthy, male sophomores from Harvard. Over the years, researchers tracked their metal and physical health and as the study evolved, researchers added the children of those men as well as their wives as subjects. According to Harvard, “among the original recruits were eventual President John F. Kennedy and longtime Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee.”

The fourth Grant Study director, Harvard psychologist  Robert Waldinger, gave a TED talk about the results. “The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier,” Waldinger said. “The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80,” he added.

For more insight into the study, you can also read Harvard psychologist George E. Vaillant’s book Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study.